Seventeen red roses and a time of remembering; "Dr. Love" and sponsoring members; many awards and recognitions; and the visit by Lions Past International Director Llowell Bonds from Hoover, Alabama, all came together at the Lions District 14U 18th annual convention held at The Chateau Resort & Conference Center in Tannersville, Monroe County.
The roses, given to family members or fellow club members of this past year's deceased Lions, were a focal point in the opening Necrology service at which The Rev. David Felker, pastor at Effort UMC, spoke about memories and their significance.
In his message, Pastor Felker shared his poignant recollection of his father's loss of memory and told the story of Capt. Eddy Rickenbacker and his daily visits to the feed the seagulls in honor of the lone seagull which gave him and his fellow drifting, starving, crewmen, life through the gull's death on that sea.
"How do we remember to remember?" he asked.
For the assembled Lions, remembering included those roses given each year and also the tolling of the bell as each deceased Lions or Lioness member of the 4-county Lions District (Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill) name was read.
Music included such hymns as "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace" and "Blest Be the Tie that Binds," with accompaniment by Eileen Meiser.
For the 2009-2010 the deceased Lions and Lioness include: Coaldale Lions, Ervin W. Murphy; Cressona Lions, Daniel J. Dauksis, Carl Hubler Sr.; Franklin Township Lions, Paul Goodhile, James E. Ziegenfuss; Jim Thorpe Lions, William L. Ocker; Mahoning Township Lions, Charles R. Serfass, James Serfass; Milford Lions, Robert E. Fish; Porter-Tower Lions, James G. Kroh; Pottsville Lions, John Kozura; Saint Clair Lions, Ann Marie Reed; Stroudsburg Lions, Roland Featherman; Tobyhanna-Newfoundland Lions, Jeanne Andrews; West Penn Lions, Robert A. Arner; Western Pocono Lions, Andrew Chizmadia; and Western Pocono Lioness, Sally Burney.
A change in tone greeted all attending Lions, Lioness and Leos at the start of the next full day as Dr. Love (Past Council Chair Dr. Terry Musselman from York County) headed the humorous presentation of the Dr. Love Sponsorship Show, complete with Love Angels and an angelic choir.
Its purpose: to get Lions thinking about being better sponsors for new Lions and the role of the sponsoring Lion.
Giggles and chuckles later, the convention settled in to several seminars for the day, including "Membership," "What's New in Lionism," "Fund-raisers," "Who Moved My Cheese" skit by the Minersville club, based on the popular book by that name.
PDG Bill Tuttle assisted "Professor Leo D'Lion" to focus on the membership theme, "Successful Membership Recruitment," with membership being called "Healthy Club Insurance."
A presentation on sight projects from the Monroe County Council of the Blind, was introduced by Western Pocono Lions Club president Helen Koshensky, one of the MCCB officers.
Taking part in that presentation were Thomas Reid, president of MCCB, and Maryann Alexander, recording secretary for the MCCB. The duo shared some current projects of the MCCB as well as inviting seminar attendees to participate in role playing about hiring a visually impaired person and the difficulties that individual might have, having good answers for all suggested problems.
Voting for the new District Leadership followed the seminars and luncheon where several individuals were recognized. Among them was introducing the 2009-2010 District Peace Poster Contest winner, 13-year-old Devon Moyer, a 7th grader at the Schuylkill Haven Middle School. He is the son of Gail and Nelson Moyer.
Additional honorees at the luncheon included Ken Vermillion, president of the Summit Hill Lions Club, who received the International President's "Certificate of Appreciation" in recognition of distinguished achievements in fulfilling the service mission of Lions Clubs.
Lion Edward J. Steigerwalt of Lehighton and a member and officer of the Bowmanstown-Parryville Lions club was also honored with the International President's "Certificate of Appreciation." A charter member of the club, he has served the club as secretary since 1993 to present and has had perfect attendance for over 20 years.
Also recognized at that time were Lion Bob Condly, secretary of the Mahoning Township Lions Club for years, and Ron Nier, of the Tobyhanna-Newfoundland Lions Club, who both received the PA Counsellor's Distinguished Service Award.
An awards banquet, complete with a presentation about Beacon Lodge, the Lions Camp in Mt. Union for Visually and physically challenged persons was presented by PDG Judy Dudley from West Penn Lions. She filled in for PDGS Bob and Joan Milligan who, due to unfortunate circumstances could not be at the convention as they had planned.
PID Llowell Bonds spoke at the banquet, using as part of his message the visual of a glass of ice and adding water to it as well as sugar, reminding Lions and Lionesses of the "sweetness of serving others."
The Alabama Lion reminded all, quoting Helen Keller that "alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much."
Awards given during the banquet included the International President's Certificate of Appreciation presented to Wayne King and Lizanne McElwee.
Lion King, a member of the Pocono Lions Club since 2004, has served as chair of several committees, including the Club's Golf Committee, Health & Eyesight Committee, and the LCIF Committee, as well as serving as the club's president in 2008.
"During his tenure the club's membership grew almost 40 percent," said District Governor Bob Neumoyer, as he presented the award, with assistance of PID Bonds.
Lion Lizanne, from Pottsville, has been a Lion since 1999 and has held various club positions, including president of the West Penn Club for two years and serving as member or chair of the District Convention Committee, Leader Dog Committee, Youth Seminar Committee, and fulfilling many other Lion obligations.
DG Neumoyer also recognized those who helped organize the District Convention and have helped him in many ways.
He lauded PDG Lion Paul Barth and Lion/Lioness Rita Sweeney, Convention chairs and announced that monies would be sent to Lions Clubs International Foundation in honor of District Secretary Ed Dudley and District Treasurer Judy Miller. His wife and Partner in Service Becky was also lauded
The results of the election for the 2010-2011 Lion program year were announced, with Vice District Governor Bob Kelsey from Sciota, a member of the Western Pocono Lion Club, being recognized as the District Governor-Elect.
Lion Scott Dudley, of New Ringgold, and a member of the West Penn Township Lions Club, was named First Vice District Governor-Elect.
Lion Angela Mims, from Greeley, a member of the Milford Lions Club was named the District's first-ever Second Vice District Governor-Elect.
The District Convention continued Sunday morning with the Melvin Jones/PA Fellow Breakfast.
Honored with a Progressive Melvin Jones recognition was Lion Albert "Bud" Barnes from Minersville and the Minersville Lions Club.
His service as the District 14U Leo Chairperson, club Halloween Parade and Toys for Tots chairperson, regional co-chair of the Feeding the Hungry project as well as helping with many other activities and serving in various offices over the year, were an inherent part of the prestigious award.
Lion Richard Angstadt of Pottsville and a member of the Minersville Area Lions Club also received a Progressive Melvin Jones. He has served his club in many capacities and is currently the Region III chair. In addition, Lion Angstadt is a member of the MERL team serves as co-chair of the Public Relations Committee.
District Governor Neumoyer than presented the prestigious Joe Wroblewski awards to PDG Judy Dudley and PDG Liz McElwee, both from the West Penn Lions and West Penn Lions clubs in recognition of all their Lions related services on the club, region district and other levels.
Although the District Governor made most of the presentations, he was honored as well, being presented by the District with a Melvin Jones Fellow himself.
Remembering, recognition, fellowship and planning for future service, came together at the Lions of 14U District Convention.